VACCINE-RESISTANT EBOLA STRAIN SPREADS IN UGANDA.
Written by AIGBOKHAEBHO OKHUELEIGBE on October 7, 2022
Health systems in Uganda already weakened by the coronavirus pandemic and budget cut are currently struggling to contain the Ebola outbreak caused by a strain for which there are no proven vaccines or antiviral treatments and which can’t be detected by rapid tests.
There are already 43 confirmed cases of the Sudan strain of the virus, two weeks since the authority first declared that a 24-year-old man had died of the Virus. A further 9 persons have died, with some believing more persons who lived or visited the man may have died who were never tested.
This means the outbreak, now spread across five farming districts in central Uganda, likely started more than a month before it was detected, raising fears that there are more unknown cases.
The World Health Organisation WHO, Africa Centres for Disease Control, and Doctors Without Borders have sent staff and medical supplies. Ugandan officials said they are in talks with different drugmakers on candidate vaccines that may work against the Sudan strain.
The center of the outbreak lies along a major highway connecting Uganda’s capital, Kampala, with the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is around 20 miles from Kibale National Park, popular with foreign tourists coming to see Uganda’s chimpanzees.
Many African countries in a bid to curb the spread of the deadly virus have started screening migrants crossing between the countries. Congo, Kenya, Rwanda and South Sudan are screening travelers crossing their borders with Uganda for Ebola symptoms, which include fever, vomiting, headaches, and fatigue
Although Asymptomatic patients cannot transmit the disease, one of the challenges in the control of the disease is that having a long period of incubation of about 21 days, any person infected could travel quite far within this period of incubation and subsequently pose danger to the current environment.